Pharmacogenomics should be part of MPharm degree, says RPS
All pharmacists should be given an educational grounding in pharmacogenomics, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said.
In a position paper issued last week on the role of pharmacy in widening access to genomics-based health interventions, the RPS said “fully resourced genomics education and training” should be offered at “all stages of pharmacy education”.
This should include “comprehensive training” at the undergraduate level and addressing the knowledge requirements of registered pharmacy professionals once they are qualified, it explained.
Among a number of calls to action in the position paper, the RPS also recommends integrating electronic health records accessible to all healthcare professionals responsible for a patient’s care, and creating more research opportunities for pharmacists to improve service delivery.
Pharmacists’ “unique training in science and healthcare enables them to articulate complex medicines issues in a patient-friendly way,” said the RPS.
It pointed out that pharmacists working in specialist areas are already using genomics testing, such as in cancer care where patients are tested for gene variants to determine whether they can safely be prescribed the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil.
RPS director for England Ravi Sharma said: “The professional leadership of pharmacists and pharmacy teams is vital to the delivery of a successful pharmacogenomics programme across the health service.
“The benefits of pharmacogenomics are huge to the individual, but also to the NHS in terms of greater efficiency, fewer wasted medicines, reduced hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions and better use of clinicians’ time to improve patient responses to medicines.
“The new era of personalised medicine is fast approaching and we must ensure we are fully prepared to maximise the benefits for patients and the NHS.”
A recent NHS-backed report from the Royal College of Physicians and British Pharmacological Society called for the creation of a pharmacogenomics consultation service in every integrated care system in England, with pharmacists playing an “essential role”.